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# How to Become a Hopeless Loser at Blackjack

10 February 2002

Blackjack is an unusual casino game. What makes it unusual is that it can actually be beaten by a skilled player. You can read how to beat it on the internet, in various magazine articles and books on the subject. But for most players, somehow all that just doesn't seem to sink in. So today I'm going to try a little reverse psychology. I'll show you a perfect way to lose all your money at this game. As I go through the masochistic steps one by one, if any of them hit home -- that's good. I want you to come face to face with your self-destructive side.

Step 1) Memorize about 90% of a basic strategy chart and rush to the casino brimming with confidence. When a hand in the other 10% area comes up (like Ace/4 against a 3), ask the derelict next to you how to play it. He's probably been playing it wrong his whole life.

Step 2) When a hand arises that you know how to play but don't like playing it that way (like 3/2/6/5 against a 7), find a reason why you should play it the other way -- just this one time.

Step 3) When you have 11 against a dealer's face-card and the last two hits were both 10s, don't double down because you positively can't catch another 10. After all, there are only 96 of them in a six -eck shoe -- those must've been the last two.

Step 4) So rather than doubling your bet from \$15 to \$30 with that 11, just double for an extra \$5. That way, you'll be giving up your right to take a second hit even though you never even had the chance to win the max if you caught good -- think about it.

Step 5) When you have blackjack and the dealer has an Ace up, quickly settle for "even money." And when she hasn't got the 10 underneath, don't even think about that extra half bet you just threw away. Winning something every time must be better than winning even more most of the time -- isn't it?

Step 6) After you've won three hands in a row, bet the house's own money back at them, since pressing it up is how to make a big score on a small investment. Forget about the fact that once the chips get to your side of the table, it's your money now. And so what if your chance to win that next hand is the same whether you bet those very chips -- or money from your own pocket.

Step 7) When you lose that big bet, blame it on the third baseman for taking the dealer's "bust" card, even though nobody knew which card was really going to be the dealer's bust card anyway.

Step 8) If the dealer burns your doubled 6/5-3 with a six-card 21, get up and leave the table -- he's hot! Ignore the fact that 10 little cards have just been taken out of play and high cards in the shoe help the player. You refuse to get burned again.

Step 9) When everybody keeps getting pat 20s and blackjacks, bet it up since this must be a hot table. Don't worry that so many precious big cards have already been used up.

Step 10) When a new player jumps in during the middle of a shoe, yell to the pit boss for a "No Mid-Shoe" sign -- since you know that an extra hand always works against the players. It could never work against the dealer though -- could it?

Step 11) If the moron next to you splits a pair of 10s, get up and run. His freak play is bound to wreak havoc and destruction upon your chips. This you know because the cards automatically get sequenced during the shuffle to ruin the players' hands whenever two 10s are separated. Curiously, this is not true when two Aces are separated.

How many of these moves do you already have down cold? It only takes a couple to make you a born loser. Get with reality. Every one of the above scenarios are things I see day in and day out. If you're fixated on them, you'll never get to what really matters. Memorize 100% of your basic strategy, drop your superstitious hangups and gain some awareness of high vs. low dealt cards. Then you'll be on the right track.

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Fred Renzey
Fred Renzey is a high-stakes, expert poker player. On a daily basis he faces--and beats--some of the best players in the country in fierce poker room competition. Now for the first time, Renzey offers his perceptive insights on how to play winning poker. For Fred's 13-page blackjack booklet "Ace/10 Front Count", send \$9 to Fred Renzey, P.O. Box 598, Elk Grove Village, IL, 60009

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Fred Renzey
Fred Renzey is a high-stakes, expert poker player. On a daily basis he faces--and beats--some of the best players in the country in fierce poker room competition. Now for the first time, Renzey offers his perceptive insights on how to play winning poker. For Fred's 13-page blackjack booklet "Ace/10 Front Count", send \$9 to Fred Renzey, P.O. Box 598, Elk Grove Village, IL, 60009